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Equine Affaire Dash

Published: 11/19/2008
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By Maddy B. Gray

Forgive me for reacting like a teenager. That’s just how the Equine Affaire hits me every year. It was my fourth visit to the Springfield, MA, show and I enjoyed the heck out of it.

Still, it is real easy to get over-stimulated and overwhelmed. The show's disclaimer should be: If you don't have Attention Deficit yet, you will soon!...OR...Sit down, honey, before you drop! Rest Areas Provided at each venue! The show’s disclaimer should be: If you don’t have Attention Deficit yet, you will soon! …OR… Sit down before you drop…Rest Areas Provided at each venue!

So in keeping with the frenetic pace of the event and the sheer volume of horse products, demos, businesses and associations, I offer you, Dear Reader, a drive-thru report:

Let’s start outside the Mallory Building. The Mallory is the first of six huge facilities which each house dozens (sometimes hundreds) of commercial booths along with horse show areas. In other words, when you tire of shopping and chewing the fat with all the vendors and attendees, you can sit in the bleachers and watch a demonstration or clinic.
  Chris Cox waiting lineIn Mallory, those areas are small to medium dirt roundpens. In the Coliseum and other buildings, the horse areas are much larger. There are dozens of clinicians putting on their best in 30 to 60 minutes intervals.

We saw these folks waiting for autographs from Chris Cox after his clinic.

Standing next to this Featherlite stock trailer is Bobby Fantarella...

At the Trailer Depot demo
Traditionally, all the trailer businesses set up here. There are fantastic rigs with swank living quarters for you and your horse. I was specifically looking for a 4-horse stock trailer and had some fun discussing my options with George Yered of Medfield, MA ( where I bought my TrailersUSA double and also with Bobby Fantarella of The Trailer Depot in Northford, CT. I’ve got my eye on a super-looking, super-sturdy Featherlite. Now if only I had the dough!

underarmor In the area of What-Will-They-Think-of-Next? I bring you Athletic Wear for horses. For those of you who need to change blankets for each temperature variation, now there’s an outfit for workouts! (

And then there is Custom Soils – real and synthetic surfaces when dirt simply will not do! (

I skipped the action at the World Championship Blacksmith Competition this time. That’s behind the Mallory and take note, ‘cause it can be where a lot of nice-looking, big-shouldered men hang out, trying to best each other ‘smithing the perfect shoe.

no worries Speaking of hunks – I couldn’t resist taking this photo of two teenagers in front of the Clinton Anderson rig. Ok, he might be cute. But check out his rig, will ya?

We continued to the Better Living Center, home of the bulk of vendors. There I chatted with Eric Haydt, vice president of sales and marketing at Triple Crown Feeds. ( We traded stories of East/West differences because I have seen the differences in my work and travels. Here in the East, folks tend to their horses with the utmost attention. Some call it micromanaging. In contrast, he shared a story from an Equine Affaire attendee in California. "She came up to me and asked if there was something she could give her horses every Thursday, since they were turned out to pasture and that was when she checked on them. I had to say, 'No, Ma'am. I'm sorry. We don't have a Thursday Feed.'"
"She came up to me and asked if there was something she could give her horses every Thursday, since they were turned out to pasture and that was when she checked on them. I had to say, 'No, Ma'am. I'm sorry. We don't have a Thursday Feed.'"

He sent me on my way with samples and advice for my hard and easy keepers back home.

Lucerne Farms So, too, did Anne at Maine’s own Lucerne Farms. They’re based in Fort Fairfield.
Anne suggested a Regular Hi Fiber forage for my two older mares during the winter.

We visited with the folks at Best of America by Horseback. That’s the television program hosted by Tom Seay on RFD-TV. (And one reason I might switch to Direct TV, so I can watch that show!)
 They’re planning a several month trip from Mexico to Canada next year. Can I come??

In the yellow shirt and long hair, you see Michelle Turner, Director of Public Relations and Marketing.

Best of America by horseback booth I chatted briefly with the staff at the Equalign Chiropractic Systems booth. My back was killing me and could they just….
No, really, for a price, they will come to your barn, observe and treat you and your horse. Then, they will suggest therapies and exercises for you both. Pretty cool, huh?

We moved on to the Breed Pavilion, my favorite venue. This building hosts demos of many, many breeds. There are open stalls full of people-friendly horses. To name a few: Icelandics, Morgans, Mustangs, Fresians, Haflingers, miniatures, the list goes on.
I spoke with Steve Meyer, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist Facility Manager. He works for the Bureau of Land Management. One heck of a tough job. Especially in this economy, it is very hard to adopt out the thousands of wild horses that they have. Not quite like getting a kitty from the local pound, ya know?

I should mention that Ginger Kathrens had a booth to promote the Cloud Foundation, too. Fortunately, these two mustang advocates with very different philosophies and perspectives were not staged near one another.

My one purchase came from Julie Goodnight’s booth. A quirky purchase but what the heck. I have a 12 foot leadline and a 25 foot leadline and sometimes neither work well. So I treated myself to a 15 footer with a popper on the end. Goodnight’s lines have a closed loop instead of a metal clasp at the end, so it’s a little horse-friendlier.
Additional Photos:
Heading to the Breed Pavilion are a mini donkey and her 7-week-old baby.

chainsaw artDisplay of Ben Risney, Chainsaw Art Sculptor

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10/6/2010 Tony Will
Maddy - Thanks for mentioning Read Custom Soils! This will be my 5th year at the Equine Affaire and I love it too....even though it means 4 longs days of explaining footing options. I hope that you and your readers will stop by and see me in the Young Building #1218. Thanks!

"It is the hardest pill for all of us would-be horsemen to swallow, but it is absolutely true - if the horse is not responding properly, we are doing something wrong" - Mary Twelveponies